Catching Up With: Blake Savage
The Utah native who now calls California home, Blake Savage, showed up at the final round of the 2012 Monster Energy CMRC Canadian Motocross Championships and made an immediate splash on his GDR Honda in the MX1 class. He grabbed two great starts and gave the other top riders all they could handle. We last saw him at the Montreal Supercross so we figured we would find out what he's been up to since then and get his thoughts on his upcoming full year of competition north of the border.
Blake, we haven’t spoken to you in a while. What have you been doing since we last saw you in Montreal?
Since Montreal I just went back to the States and I packed up and moved out to California to start living there full-time. Once I got all settled in, I began riding some SX and getting ready for west coast SX.
I’ve seen you race a few times as an up-and-coming amateur down in the States. Please remind us of how your amateur career went.
Ya, as an amateur I raced off-road for Factory Suzuki for about 5 years of my early amateur career, so I wasn't really in the big amateur national scene until the last two years of being an amateur. Then I decided to go race some nationals and did the whole Loretta Lynn's deal and it actually went really well for me. My first year there I got two 2nd overalls in the 250 and 450 B Mod classes. Then my last year I just struggled with starts and a few other little things, but still got some top 5s. After doing so well my first year, anything other than 1st or 2nd is just not acceptable.
You came up to Canada with limited training time on the bike and showed that you can compete here. How did your first taste of Canadian moto go for you?
It went great! I only had one day on the bike at Gopher Dunes which is completely different from Walton where I raced, so I didn't get the greatest idea of what the bike was like. I also had never even ridden a Honda 450 so I had to get use to that. We went to Walton and I rode pretty well. I got some good starts and mixed it up with the leaders both motos, but I didn't feel all that comfortable the first moto on the bike. Joe Skidd helped me out with some suspension stuff for the second moto and it went a lot better. That was the first time I had actually done a 30+2 moto also.
Speaking of Canadian taste, I know you are hooked on something up here. Can you explain your new-found addiction?
Oh yes, definitely found a love for Tim Hortons coffee. I wasn't a huge coffee drinker before I went to Canada and Derek (Schuster) introduced me to Tim Hortons and it escalated quickly. Once I got home, I still was on a coffee kick for a little but it just wasn't the same. That's one thing I'm looking forward to coming back to Canada.
How did your supercross season go?
I'm pretty happy with how my supercross season went. I only gave myself like 5 weeks to learn how to ride SX and learn to go fast on it as well. It's so different from anything I've ever done and it was a huge learning curve. I made all the night shows and came really close to making main events. The west coast was really stacked too - we had pretty much every big name in the class, so at least I know where I was up against every guy in the 250 class. I stayed healthy until after the break at Seattle and had a little incident that wasn't my fault and had to miss the last two. But, other than that, I had a good time and can't wait for next year.
What have you been doing to get prepared to come back with the GDR team?
Well, I'm still in California at the moment and I'm just riding my road bike and training a bunch until the doctor gives me the green flag to start riding again, which should be any day now. Once I can ride, I'll fly out to start testing with the GDR team and get ready for round 1.
When will you get to Canada to test all the new equipment?
I plan on flying out the 21st. It's not going to be a huge change just because I have been riding Hondas all year and I've been in Troy Lee Designs gear for 7 year now, so it's just making sure the suspension is working properly and getting some good riding time in.
Will you do any local races while you’re up here?
I don't plan on it. I would have liked to if we had our ducks in a row, but it doesn't look like it.
What track are you most looking forward to racing on?
I'm looking forward to racing at Gopher Dunes, for sure, because it's close, obviously. No travel or anything - thats going to be nice.
Who do you think will be battling for wins in the MX2 class this summer?
I'm not too sure. I know there are going to be a couple of fast guys, for sure, but we're just going to have to wait until round 1. I'm just worried about myself right now and getting back on the bike. It's just a race for me to get ready right now and as long as I do that then I should be one of the guys mixing it up for wins.
What are your goals? What are Derek’s goals for you?
Our goals are definitely the same and that's nothing less than podiums. The GDR Honda team has stepped it up big time this year and I believe they have what it takes to race for wins and a championship.
Was the plan always for you to come back to Canada for the whole season in 2013?
After I left Canada last year I had a great feeling about racing there and I told myself (and Derek) that I would like to go back and race again full-time. The fans and everybody are just super-cool and make it enjoyable to race there.
What is something Canadian fans should know about Blake Savage?
I'm just a hard-working laid-back guy that's always just looking to have a good time with life. I enjoy meeting new people all the time, so, if you ever get the chance, come say hi at the races.
What has been the highlight of your pro career so far?
Well, I havent been pro very long, but I would say coming up to Walton and racing was really cool. Riding supercross this year has always been a dream of mine since I was little. And I also raced the two-stoke nationals a few weeks ago and won on a Husky 125. That was just a unique race that I'll never forget.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5 years from now, I'd like to see myself living back in Utah where my parents live with some property, a nice house, and a SX track on it. Also, have a second home in California to go back to. Who knows, maybe even have a couple Canadian championships hanging on the wall!
What’s one thing every American knows about Canada?
Well, the first thing is that they should know they have way better coffee and Starbucks is over-rated. The sad thing is that most Americans only know that Canadians say 'EH' a lot. It seems like Canadians know everything about Americans, but Americans know nothing about Canada, which is sad. I fell into that category until I came and visited, but now I tell all my buddies back home all about Canada.
What do you listen to to get pumped up for the races?
I listen to a lot of everything, but I'd say before a race I listen to rap. Nothing gets me more pumped up than throwing on my Jaybird headphones and listening to some rap lyrics that are a bunch of nonsense (laughs).
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. If we don’t see you testing at Gopher Dunes, we’ll see you out in Nanaimo. Who would you like to thank?
Thank you guys. We'll definitely have to meet at Tim's sometime before the season starts. I'd like to thank all the sponsors that have stepped up huge for the GDR team this year: Honda Canada, Troy Lee Designs, Superior Suspension Settings, Hindle Exhaust, Dunlop, Oakley, Forma, Atlas, Toronto Digital Imaging, Wiseco, Hinson Clutch Components, Performance Research Canada, DT1, Works Connection, Moto Tassinari, Klotz Fuel, Rynotech, D.I.D., Xtrig, Vans, Renthal, EBC, ODI, Leo Vince Carbon, Macnab Transit, Matrix Concepts, Rad Mfg, Dyco Tool, Motoseat, Snap-On, GET, Jaybird, Mishimoto, Cycra.
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